There is some good news for those with prostate cancer. A life-prolonging prostate cancer drug has been officially launched in the United Kingdom.
Abiraterone acetate, which is being sold under the trade name "Zytiga", has been discovered to be very effective on those in the advanced stages of prostate cancer.
AdvertisementThe drug which was developed by researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the Royal Marsden Hospital, was recommended for a European Union license very recently. It works by blocking testosterone production in all tissues, including cancerous ones. Incidentally, testosterone (male sex hormone) triggers the growth and spread of prostate cancer.
A Phase III trial was conducted on 2,000 men with advanced prostate cancer. It was shown that those administered one-a-day pill lived 15.8 months on an average in comparison to the 11.2 months that those taking a placebo lived.
The chief executive of the ICR in London, Professor Alan Ashworth, said: "This drug will make a significant impact on the treatment of men suffering advanced prostate cancer. Abiraterone acetate gives doctors another important treatment option and we hope that it will play a part in one day turning prostate cancer into a chronic, rather than life-threatening, disease."
ICR's Professor Johan de Bono, who co-led the Phase III trial, said: "There are only a small handful of drugs available that can extend life for men with advanced prostate cancer. Clinical trials have proven that abiraterone acetate can not only prolong life, but in some men it can improve their quality of life. This offers hope to the thousands of men each year whose cancer stops responding to standard hormone treatments and chemotherapy."
About prostate cancer
The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system and is situated near the urinary bladder. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. The cancer can be easily identified by a simple blood test for PSA (prostate specific antigen), which is a prostate cancer marker. The levels of PSA are elevated in those with prostate cancer.
Common risk factors include family history, age, red meat-rich diet, smoking, infection or inflammation. The rate of incidence among Indians is approx.2-4%.
Those with a family history may do an annual check-up after 40 years while others may begin a routine check up after age 50yrs.
Common prostate cancer treatment methods include radical prostatectomy, radiotherapy, hormone ablation, proton beam therapy and cryotherapy.